Humanism Offers a Set of Values to Tackle the 21st Century; Ahead of World Humanism Day on Thursday, Former Counsel General MICK ANTONIW Argues Humanism Is an Important Source of Ethics in an Increasingly Secular Wales

Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales), June 18, 2018 | Go to article overview

Humanism Offers a Set of Values to Tackle the 21st Century; Ahead of World Humanism Day on Thursday, Former Counsel General MICK ANTONIW Argues Humanism Is an Important Source of Ethics in an Increasingly Secular Wales


IN A world of increasing intolerance and division, a world undergoing dramatic change due to technological advance and globalisation, it is sometimes easier to become entrenched in narrow beliefs and to ignore the expanse of thought, imagination and the commonality of libertarian belief that there is in the world, whether that be related to a belief in God or a rational belief in none.

Humanism is the outcome of a long tradition of free thought that has inspired many of the world's great thinkers and creative artists and gave rise to science itself.

Humanism is ethical - it affirms the worth and dignity and autonomy of the individual and the right of every human being to the greatest possible freedom, compatible with the rights of others.

It seeks to use science creatively, not destructively, to seek solutions to the world's problems through human thought and action, rather than divine intervention.

It is a philosophy which supports democracy and human rights to the fullest possible extent.

It believes that with personal liberty comes social responsibility. It is undogmatic, imposing no creed and is committed to education free of indoctrination.

It is, like ethical socialism, a lifestyle, aimed at maximising fulfilment through the cultivation of ethical and creative ways of living and offers an ethical and rational means of addressing the challenges of our times.

We live in a world where it is predicted that by 2030 50 per cent of the world's wealth will be in the hands of one per cent of the population.

Half the world flourishes while half the world starves.

As inequality increases, societies become increasingly unstable, growing nationalisms set people against people, barriers are erected and the seeds of conflict are sown.

Humanism, as with ethical socialism, is about the belief that the power to resolve all these problems lies in our hands, through rational analysis, through the use of science for the benefit of all, through a recognition or our common humanity and obligations to one another.

To this extent it has many philosophical and ethical similarities with basic Christian, Buddhist, Jewish and Islamic religious beliefs.

Bertrand Russell, a great British philosopher and Humanist, said: "If we are to live together and not die together we must learn a kind of charity and a kind of tolerance which is absolutely vital to the continuation of human life on the planet."

In some respects humanism has many similarities with religion, except that it is not based on the existence of God or bound to any set of religious teachings or belief.

Lord Williams of Oystermouth, the former archbishop of Canterbury, in 2015 called for humanism to be included in the English religious studies curriculum alongside Christianity and Islam. …

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Humanism Offers a Set of Values to Tackle the 21st Century; Ahead of World Humanism Day on Thursday, Former Counsel General MICK ANTONIW Argues Humanism Is an Important Source of Ethics in an Increasingly Secular Wales
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